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Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them
is like a [wise] man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundations on a rock:
and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it:
for it was founded upon a rock (Luke 6:47-48)
Let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10b-11)
If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
A Gospel Summary
by Dusty Peterson
The Christian Gospel and Salvation: Articles | Foundations: Index
|God is Almighty. He is
sovereign over the Universe, and He never changes. He is the
Creator of all things and the Judge of the whole world. He is
unique, and said: "I am God, and there is none like Me"
Through His creation we can tell a lot about God's character. For example, we can glimpse His wisdom from its complexity and variety, His power from its scale, and His glorious majesty from its awesome splendour. "Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5). A person can also discern that they are separated from God in that He is not personally known to them. Yet from the beauty of creation they could then surmise that the God who fashioned it must be a beneficent God and will therefore have made a way for mankind to reach Him.
So, God is separate from His creation. The word 'holy' primarily means 'separate' and, looking through the scriptures, it indeed becomes clear that God's 'overriding' character attribute is holiness. (Remarkably, God's holiness is emphasised in Scripture far more often than His love.) God is totally righteous and pure and He never looks upon any sin approvingly (see Habakkuk 1:13).
God is deserving of worship and He created the heavens and its angels as well as the world and its people to worship Him. For worship to be meaningful it has to be offered freely, so the angels and mankind were given the capacity to choose; to decide whether to love their Creator or to reject Him, to offend Him, and thus become separated from Him. He created a particularly powerful, beautiful and clever angel to be His chief worshipper (Ezekiel 28:13-17). This angel became proud of his position and sought to be worshipped himself. Pride is a transgression, or 'sin', and is deeply offensive to God. (After all, we have nothing that we weren't given by Him, so what do we have to be proud of?) This rebellious angel - now known as 'Satan', meaning 'adversary' - and the ones that chose to follow him, were expelled from their place in Heaven. A place of everlasting punishment - a lake of fire - has been prepared for them and on the Judgment Day they will ultimately be consigned to that place called Hell.
Satan and the other fallen angels, also called 'devils' or 'demons', now operate on the Earth. Satan seeks to usurp God's place and lead men to worship him. He endeavours to break God's Word and to deceive or destroy those who worship God.
Adam and his wife eve were the first people God put on the Earth. Through his great subtlety, Satan was able to deceive them and Adam sinned as a result. As we have seen, God is absolutely holy and this sin meant that Adam and his wife deserved to be cut off from God forever. Not only that, but such is the utter purity and holiness of God that, because Adam's 'seed' within him was tainted, all Adam's subsequent generations deserve the same fate regardless of how good their lives have been (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
In other words: as a result of his sin, Adam died in a spiritual sense... including his seed in him (hence all future offspring - i.e. us - died too). Besides, all of us have sinned in some way, rejecting our Maker, so we all deserve to go to Hell and we can do nothing to earn a place in Heaven. Without God providing a way, we are without hope and are destined to eternal damnation in that place prepared for Satan (Matthew 25:41,46; Mark 9:43-48).
Mercifully, God has made a way and He made promises about this throughout history, as recorded in His written revelation of Himself to man, the Bible. Until He provided this Way, He ordained the sacrifice of spotless animals to illustrate what He was going to do later in history. But the price required was the death, with the shedding of the blood, of a perfect man.
If someone could be found who was without any sin and was prepared to pay the price; i.e. die bloodily, for our sins then we could be saved by completely turning away (or 'repenting') from our sinful nature and evil ways and spiritually 'clinging' to this person. But such a man would have to be 'begotten' (born) of God, rather than of man, in order to avoid being stained by Adam's 'original sin'. He would also have to live a sinless life and then sacrifice it for us.
God has a Son. This Son is the only begotten Son of God and, as part of the Godhead, is therefore Himself God (see Hebrews 1;8; Titus 2:13; Isaiah 40:3 c.f. Matthew 3:1-3 etc). He is eternal and glorious like His Father. Yet he was prepared to lay aside His fearsome majesty and come to Earth as a man in order to pay the price for us. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was that man.
As a man, he was born in Israel over 2000 years ago and fulfilled each one of the hundreds of prophecies made in Scripture about His first coming. He mainly spent His years of ministry teaching people who already believed in His Father the truth about the Godhead and the Kingdom that His Father had promised to His Son and to all those who were truly committed to Him. (Religious authorities at that time had taught many falsehoods about God, perverting the people's view of Him. This had ruined their understanding of the gospel. Jesus Christ needed to expose these false teachings and replace them with the truth.)
Jesus also healed many people, delivered many demoniacs, and performed other great miracles. He never sinned, yet, aged just 33, He allowed the same people who had taught falsely about His Father to arrest Him and put Him through an illegal trial. Soldiers of the occupying Roman army then flogged Him, which will have destroyed most of His back. They punched Him, ripped out His beard, spat on Him, and mocked Him. It is sobering to remember that this is God we are talking about. He was capable of stopping this wickedness at any moment but He was totally obedient to His Father's will.
The Lord Jesus Christ was rejected by mankind as a whole. And with blood already flowing from much of His body, and with His face terribly disfigured, men stripped Him naked, nailed Him to pieces of wood and - all the while continuing to rail at Him and mock Him - crucified Him. It was on the cross that He prayed for His Father to forgive those people who had caused His crucifixion - which is all of us. After several hours hanging there being scorned, and after the sun was darkened for a long time, He gave up His life so that even those who had rejected Him could be saved if they 'repented' - i.e. completely turned away from their past nature and turned toward God - and were (spiritually) washed in His blood. That is AMAZING grace!
At the moment of His death, several extraordinary things happened to attest to Jesus being the Son of God. And because He was without sin, He could not suffer the curse of death that was on Adam. Instead, after three days and nights in the grave, He was resurrected by the Spirit of God and ascended into Heaven.
By confessing our sins and our fallen nature to God, by hating these things and repenting of them, by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we can, by God's grace, be washed in His blood and be 'hidden' in Him. At this moment of starting a new life by accepting Jesus Christ as the new centre and purpose of our life, He "abides in us" by His Spirit.
As soon as someone repents and is saved, their spirit is reborn - they become 'born again' - because they are reconciled to God. the Spirit of God instantly indwells one's spirit, enabling us to understand His Word, obey His commands, and become ever more Christ-like. This indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not to be confused with the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit which, while important for the building up of the Church, are distinct from salvation itself.
God is coming to judge the world, with unimaginable ferocity, for its rebellious and evil ways (Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 63:3-6). But those who are faithful to Christ when God's wrath is poured out will be safe because they are hidden in Him (like being concealed in a cave or in the cleft of a huge rock). To have faith in, or to "believe on", the Lord Jesus Christ means to trust in His Deity, rely on His atoning work and cling to His commands. Thus we are saved by His grace, i.e. by His completely unmerited mercy, through Him.
Thus saith the LORD,